Itching, scratching, and congestion – if your cat has these symptoms, it is probably suffering from an allergy. There are a plethora of things that can trigger allergies in cats.
Unfortunately, some of these allergens are present in your home. So, knowing “what can I give my cat for allergies?” is crucial.
The best anti-allergy you can give your cat is an over-the-counter antihistamine a veterinarian prescribes. If your feline has a mild allergy, OTC antihistamines will also work.
Table of Contents
- What Are Allergies in Cats?
- Types of Cats Allergies
- What Are the Symptoms of Allergies in Cats?
- How to Treat Allergies in Cats
- Tips to Reduce Allergies in Cats
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Allergies in Cats?
Like humans, felines become sensitive to some things around them. In fact, allergies are one of the most common medical conditions a cat may experience.
Experts still do not know exactly how common allergies in felines are. However, about 10 to 15 percent of cats experience a variety of allergies.
Allergies occur in cats when their immune system goes haywire due to foreign substances, causing various symptoms like irritation. Allergens can come from food, insects, plants, and anything that may come in contact with your feline body.
But before you can treat cats with allergies, you first need to know the types of allergies your pet may experience.
Types of Cats Allergies
1. Food allergy
The common cat allergens found in cat food are:
Treating allergies in cats involves knowing which foods are causing their allergy and replacing their food with a hypoallergenic one.
2. Flea allergy
Fleas are tiny insects that dwell on the skin and furs of cats. They create small, deep bites on the cat’s skin and feed on their blood.
The saliva of fleas can get into their bite wound, causing it to affect the entire body. As a result, your feline may experience extreme itchiness all over its body.
3. Environmental allergy
Cats can be allergic to environmental irritants like dust, mold, mildew, pollens, and allergens they may inhale.
Environmental allergies occur in cats when they inhale allergens. Skin contact with environmental allergens or shampoos, bedding materials, and other substances around them may also affect them.
A kitten with allergies to its environment may also develop respiratory issues.
What Are the Symptoms of Allergies in Cats?
Each type of cat allergy shows different symptoms. If your cat is sensitive to some food ingredients, it may develop digestive issues, including flatulence, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Failure to help cats with allergies to food may cause malnutrition, as they cannot properly absorb the nutrients in the food they eat.
Moreover, flea allergy symptoms manifest in felines as localized and generalized skin inflammation, itching, rashes, and papules.
On the other hand, you will notice respiratory issues similar to asthma in your feline friend if it has an environmental allergy. This respiratory issue results in sneezing, nasal or ocular discharge, wheezing and coughing.
How to Treat Allergies in Cats
If you ever wonder what to do for a cat with allergies, the best way to help it is to identify its allergens and prevent them from getting near your cat.
But if your cat is already experiencing an allergy, there are various treatments for cats with allergies that you can try at home.
1. Food allergy treatment
Unfortunately, food allergies are not curable. Instead, you can manage them by avoiding food ingredients that trigger your cat’s allergies.
Once your cat has ingested food that it is allergic to, you can give it an antihistamine for cat allergies. Then, you need to bring your pet to the vet to identify what ingredients it is sensitive to.
The vet will then help you tailor a diet appropriate for your feline.
Some felines have severe reactions even to trace amounts of allergens. So, it is crucial to choose hypoallergenic food options.
2. Flea allergy treatment
Cats with mild flare ups due to fleas may get better if you use over-the-counter flea treatments. Such treatments kill the fleas on your pet’s skin, thus preventing them from reproducing.
After getting rid of the fleas, you need to use flea repellant to ensure they will not return. You also need to clean your home, especially the cat’s belongings, as there surely are fleas living in them.
You can also use a feline liquid allergy medicine or OTC antihistamines for mild symptoms.
On the other hand, a cat with a severe flea allergy needs the vet’s attention. The vet may either prescribe steroids or antibiotics.
The steroids work by reducing itch and inflammation on your feline’s skin. Meanwhile, your pet needs antibiotics if the flea bites have already caused a skin infection.
3. Environmental allergy treatment
Feline environmental allergies are the most difficult to manage, as you cannot remove the allergens from your pet’s environment.
If your cat has allergies, treatment includes occasional or long-term allergy medicine for cats, depending on the symptom’s severity. However, it is worth noting that feline atopy medications will only treat the allergy and not stop it.
So, you may consider feline desensitization therapy. This treatment involves injecting your feline with small traces of its allergens to try and get its immune system used to it.
However, there is no guarantee that this therapy will work. Or, if it will, it may take months before your cat becomes less sensitive to its environmental allergens.
Tips to Reduce Allergies in Cats
While allergies are incurable, there are medications for cat allergies that reduce their symptoms.
- As mentioned, you can replace your feline friend’s food with hypoallergenic ones if it is sensitive to particular food ingredients. You must also keep allergens, such as eggs and proteins like chicken and meat, out of your cat’s reach.
- You also need to regularly clean your home to remove anything that may cause flare-ups on your cat. However, limit the use of scented cleaners and chemical detergents as they can cause respiratory issues for your cat.
Using chemical cleaners for allergies, sneezing, and respiratory issues may cause your feline to suffer.
- Vacuuming your floors and furniture at least once a week will also help get rid of environmental allergies like dust and dust mites.
- After bringing your feline friend outside, wipe it with anti-allergy wipes before entering your home. This way, you can remove irritants on your cat’s furs, preventing them from entering your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do cats get allergies?
A cat’s immune system may become overly sensitive to various things in its environment, which is why they experience allergies. Once allergens are inside the feline’s body, or even on its skin and furs, its immune system will try to eliminate them.
The hypersensitivity of your pet’s immune system results in flare ups, including:
- skin irritation
- sneezing and coughing
- nasal and oral discharge
- skin infection in severe cases.
The side effects of cat allergy medication
Similar to humans, the most common side effect of allergy medications in felines is drowsiness. While there are many pet-friendly antihistamines, some cats still experience side effects from these medications.
These side effects include diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dry mouth, and depression. If the allergy medication your cat uses results in these symptoms, you need to consult your veterinarian for other medication options.
Tips to get rid of allergens in a cat’s litter box
The best way to get rid of allergens in your feline friend’s litter box is to empty and clean it regularly. You need to wash the litter box at least once a week to prevent allergens from building up in it.
In addition, scooping out urine and feces as soon as you see them will prevent allergens in the litter box from affecting your cat.
If your pet is suffering from environmental allergies, choose litter sand that does not have a strong scent.
Cats are similar to humans in more ways than one. Among these similarities is experiencing allergies from various irritants.
Fortunately, feline allergies are treatable as long as you can invest time, patience, and commitment in taking care of your pet. Having a close relationship with your trusted veterinarian is also important.
This way, you can improve your cat’s quality of life despite its allergies.
After everything that’s said, we hope that this article helped you answer the question, “what can I give my cat for allergies?”
Hi, I am Amy Sawy, a veterinary professional working in the field for nearly 15 years. This site is established to provide cat guardians access to helpful information and health care advice. My co-worker and I run this site mainly to help inexperienced families currently taking care of their cats without professional guidance.